10 of the best cruises for seniors looking for smooth sailings

These cruise lines cater to the needs of travellers 60 years and older.

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When you can travel from destination to destination without having to board planes, change hotels and repack, it’s no wonder cruising is a favourite form of travel for seniors.

Each of these ideal cruises for seniors has unique itineraries and activities specifically geared towards different travellers’ interests. From onboard musicals and casinos to onshore excursions guaranteed to get you back to the ship on time, you’ll barely need to lift a finger on your next cruise adventure.

1. Holland America Line

Holland America’s fleet of mid-sized ships exudes the charm of a classic cruise experience.

Renowned for its vast onboard entertainment and onshore excursion options, Holland America is the picture of perfection for those wishing to be entertained by world-class performers by night and explore with experts by day.

  • Onboard activities. Live chamber music performances, casino, blues performers, BBC Earth Natural History content and movies.
  • Accessibility features. Deaf, hard-of-hearing and visually impaired facilities, and wheelchair-friendly and modified accessibility staterooms for the partially mobile are available.
  • Discounts for seniors? No.
  • Best for: Solo senior travellers. Holland America Line offers a Single Partners Program where solo travellers can meet and be matched by gender to share double occupancy rooms to avoid supplements.

2. Princess Cruises

A favourite with older cruisers worldwide, Princess’s quality service is fit for royalty.

With a plethora of activities geared towards an older crowd, Princess offers exclusive discovery at sea activities, art history lectures, a golf driving range and live entertainment.

  • Onboard activities. Culinary demonstrations, bingo, wine tastings, educational talks, original production shows, ship tours, golf driving range, shuffleboard and dance classes.
  • Accessibility features. Princess offers wheelchair-accessible staterooms, gangways on most ships and some accessible shore excursions. Visually impaired and hard-of-hearing facilities are also available. Wheelchairs are not provided by the cruise line.
  • Discounts for seniors? No.
  • Best for: Seniors over 60.

3. Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean knows how to treat its seniors well, that’s why it offers discounts for guests who are 55 and over.

There’s something for everyone on a Royal Caribbean cruise, from the smallest member of the family to the most mature. While the grandchildren play in the deck’s activity playground you can put your feet up and dive into a good book on a quiet deck.

  • Onboard activities. Adults-only retreat, spa, library and card room, language classes, dance classes, scrapbooking and guest lectures.
  • Accessibility features. Accessible staterooms are available, as are facilities for the deaf/hard-of-hearing and blind/visually impaired. Assistance dogs are also welcome. Given prior notice, Royal Caribbean can customize your journey to meet your needs.
  • Discounts for seniors? Yes, guests who are aged 55+ receive a discount on select sailings.
  • Best for: Multi-generational cruising.

4. Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises is a Greece-based luxury cruise line that offers something for everyone in the family.

Looking for a luxury line to cruise your way from port to port? You won’t find better than Celebrity. Its indulgent ships feature aft-glass dining rooms, formal foyers, libraries, bars and casinos for you to while away the time in.

  • Onboard activities. Lawn games, live entertainment, food and wine pairing workshops, hands-on art classes, lectures and language classes.
  • Accessibility features. Accessible staterooms, social areas and shore excursions are available, as are facilities for the deaf/hard-of-hearing and blind/visually impaired. Given prior notice, Celebrity Cruises customizes your journey to meet your needs.
  • Discounts for seniors? Yes, guests who are 55+ receive a discount on select sailings.
  • Best for: Multi-generational cruising.

5. Cunard

Ensuring that your journey is stress- and worry-free, Cunard’s holidays include food, most entertainment and activities with your booking.

A cruise with Cunard is more than just a relaxing trip. It’s an enriching journey that lets you explore and learn about the world. Its ships feature guest speakers who are experts in the fields of filmmaking, politics, science, history and more.

  • Onboard activities. Educational lectures, Shakespearean performances, musicals, dance clubs, swimming pool and gym.
  • Accessibility features. Embarkation and disembarkation assistance, accessible staterooms and tailor-made accessible shore excursions. Deaf/hard-of-hearing and blind/visually impaired guests can be catered for with notice. Assistance dogs are also welcome.
  • Discounts for seniors? No.
  • Best for: Seniors and seniors with disabilities interested in educational cruises.

6. Azamara

The big difference with Azamara Club Cruises is in its Destination Immersion initiative.

With it, you’ll enjoy longer stays at each destination than with any other cruise line so that you can truly immerse yourself in your new surroundings. To top that, Azamara’s fleet of award-winning ships welcomes a maximum of just 690 guests per ship.

  • Onboard activities. Cabaret lounge, casino, White Night parties, wine tastings, seminars and lectures, culinary demonstrations and a library.
  • Accessibility features. Wheelchair-accessible staterooms, facilities for the visually impaired and service animals are welcomed.
  • Discounts for seniors? No.
  • Best for: Seniors and seniors over 60 interested in educational cruises.

7. Silversea

Sail the seven seas aboard some of the most luxurious ships with Silversea.

Capable of accommodating just 540 guests each, Silversea’s ships might be small, but they’re as indulgent as anything a full-sized liner could offer. Being smaller, they can travel through narrower waterways and dock at smaller ports.

  • Onboard activities. Enrichment programs with guest speakers, shoreside activities, pool, bar, spa, beauty salon and fitness programs.
  • Accessibility features. Wheelchair-accessible staterooms are available, though guests must bring their own wheelchair and it is recommended they bring someone to assist them.
  • Discounts for seniors? No.
  • Best for: Adults and seniors.

8. Fred. Olsen
With its fleet of smaller and older ships, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines attracts a more mature clientele who seek an intimate journey across the seas.

Fred. Olsen’s ships don’t have the kid-friendly zip lines or rock climbing walls that other lines feature, so children on board are rare. Solo seniors can also rejoice as the cruise line doesn’t charge a singles supplement.

  • Onboard activities. Shopping, live performances, spa, fitness centre, gaming tables, library and golf nets.
  • Accessibility features. Wheelchair-accessible rooms and select wheelchair-friendly shore excursions. Boudicca is the most wheelchair-friendly ship in the fleet due to its generously sized rooms.
  • Discounts for seniors? No.
  • Best for: Solo seniors.

9. Uniworld

One of the best river cruises available, Uniworld is all about comfort and luxury.

Uniworld’s intimate boutique setting carries an average of 130 guests giving you space to enjoy all the unique touches both onboard and during the tailored excursion program included in your fare.

Seniors looking for the finer things in life and attention to detail are usually drawn to these itineraries. Think lush afternoon teas, gentle morning yoga and in-suite butlers.

  • Onboard activities. Shore excursions, wine tastings, culinary classes, beauty salon and fitness programs including morning yoga, local traditional performances, lectures, pool and bar.
  • Accessibility features. In-suite butlers, variety of graded shore excursions including a “gentle walking” grade, chair lift to top deck on some ships, grab bars in showers.
  • Discounts for seniors? No.
  • Best for: Seniors and solo seniors.

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10. Viking

Covering both ocean and river cruises, Viking is popular with seniors worldwide.

Viking has a lot going for it. Besides offering some more exotic destinations than what you might find elsewhere, its new adults-only policy means fewer disruptions and more room to relax.

The reasonable all-inclusive prices also include complimentary excursions in each port, drinks with meals and free wifi.

  • Onboard activities. Guest lecturers, port talks, resident historians, destination performances, craft and cooking demonstrations, curated library, TED talks and special filmed performances
  • Accessibility features. Viking’s personal docks on river cruises allow for easier access, hallway railings on ocean cruises, elevators on ocean cruises and some river cruises.
  • Discounts for seniors? No.
  • Best for: Adults and seniors.

Best cruise lines for seniors over 60

  • Princess Cruises. With its fleet of accessible ships, Princess Cruises is well-versed in catering to an over 60s crowd. Rooms are fully equipped and you can enjoy plenty of senior-friendly activities on board.
  • Holland America Line. This cruise line offers accessible rooms for guests with mobility issues and is very popular with seniors over 60, so you’re bound to meet like-minded passengers on board.
  • Celebrity Cruises. Celebrity Cruises offers wheelchair-accessible accommodation as well as special services for seniors with limited mobility. You can also take part in plenty of low-intensity pursuits on board like lawn games, art classes, destination lectures and photo editing courses.
  • Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean offers accessible rooms for seniors with mobility issues along with wheelchair-friendly excursions. It also offers a variety of tours and classes perfect for passengers with mobility constraints.

Best cruise lines for solo seniors

  • Cunard. This cruise line offers single-occupancy cabins and oceanview suites for solo travellers. It’s popular among seniors and puts on plenty of singles meet-ups along with engaging activities like guest speakers, musical productions and Shakespearean plays.
  • Holland America Line. Seniors travelling solo can be matched to other single partners of the same gender to share double-occupancy rooms. You can also participate in solo traveller meet-and-greets at the beginning of each sailing.
  • Royal Caribbean. You’ll find dedicated studio cabins for singles on board and there are opportunities to meet plenty of new friends by participating in the wide host of activities and excursions on offer.
  • Carnival Cruises. Carnival offers special deals for seniors and exclusive offers for solo travellers on select sailings. It also offers an adults-only retreat room and library bar, along with plenty of relaxing activities like mini golf, bingo, cooking classes and more.

Which cruise lines offer discounts for seniors?

Some cruise lines offer discounts for seniors aged 55 and over on select sailings. These lines include Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.

The discounts are not widely advertised, so if you will be 55 or over at the time of sailing, advise the line when booking to see what discount offers it can provide.

Which cruises are best for seniors with disabilities?

Some cruise lines offer more accessible amenities than others and of these cruise lines, the below five are the ones that stand out the most:

  • Holland America: Wheelchair-accessible rooms on all ships and accessible routes throughout the ships.
  • Princess: Minimum of 31 wheelchair-accessible cabins on each ship and offers wheelchair-friendly excursions available.
  • Royal Caribbean: Wheelchair-accessible rooms on all ships and select excursions are wheelchair-friendly.
  • Celebrity: Wheelchair-accessible rooms on all ships and customized wheelchair-friendly excursions are available.
  • Cunard: Wheelchair accessible rooms available on all ships and select excursions are wheelchair-friendly.

4 things to look out for when booking cruises for seniors

  • Accessibility on board. Depending on your level of mobility, you might like to look into accessibility options on your cruise. Many lines offer wheelchair-accessible rooms and gangways, though it is strongly recommended that you travel with someone who is able to assist you on your cruise. While wheelchair-accessible staterooms may be available, it’s recommended that your wheelchair is collapsible as stateroom door widths vary. Some cruise lines may allow you to pre-reserve a wheelchair on board. It is recommended that you contact the cruise line directly with your requirements so that you can be best catered for while on board.
  • Port accessibility. Not all port excursions have facilities for those with mobility difficulties. You should discuss with the tour operator prior to booking to find out which excursions you can take part in. Many ports in the Mediterranean have facilities for guests with limited mobility. However, some ports, for example those in the Caribbean and the Baltics, may require ships to anchor offshore. In these instances guests will be taken onshore via a boat or tender. If tendering is required, guests using mobility devices may not be able to go onshore. Some tenders may allow guests who are able to embark with minimal assistance to use a collapsible wheelchair. Contact your tour operator to confirm your options before booking your tour.
  • Port excursions. Many cruise lines offer a variety of port excursions. Seniors may prefer tours that don’t require much physical activity. Look out for excursions and sightseeing tours that utilise a minibus or coach with minimal walking involved.
  • Scenic cruises and destinations. Scenic cruises are some of the most popular options for seniors as they allow you to witness the majesty of the landscape from the deck of the boat. Popular scenic destinations for this include New Zealand and Alaska. Transatlantic and transpacific cruises are also ideal for seniors as they provide guests with ample time to explore the ship.

Importance of cruise travel insurance for seniors

Any holiday comes with its risks and when you consider the points above like onboard and port accessibility, shore excursions and the destinations visited combined with the possibility of limited mobility and other pre-existing health conditions that come with age, it’s important to make sure that you’re covered should anything not go according to plan.

Once you’ve booked your cruise, make sure to consider seniors travel insurance policies for cruises to find a plan that’s best suited for your needs and destination.

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Feature image: Princess Cruises

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